Hilti adds to exoskeleton uptake in construction industry
News that Hilti North America, a tools, tech and services supplier to the commercial construction industry, has launched the EXO-O1 wearable exoskeleton, supports the view that these human augmentation devices (as they are officially known), are a big trend in automation.
Check out our case study which shows how Ford assembly line workers are testing new upper body exoskeletal technology called the EksoVest. It helps lessen the chance of fatigue, or injury, while performing overhead tasks, bearing in mind that Ford workers lift their arms approximately one million times a year.
Hilti jope their vest will help commercial contractors, tradesmen and management alike tackle health and safety as well as labor shortage challenges. Wearable systems like exoskeletons will help reduce strain and fatigue for both experienced and novice users, at a time when the industry is managing a workforce shortage challenge.
To create the EXO-O1, Hilti Group partnered with Ottobock, the global leader in prosthetics, orthotics and exoskeletons that help people increase and retain their physical independence. Hilti is currently in real-world jobsite testing and will be bringing the exoskeleton to the market later this year.
"We want to improve the health and safety of our customers, directly impacting jobsite productivity – so they can stay on time and on budget," said Johannes Huber, Head of Business Unit Diamond Systems at Hilti Group, parent company of Hilti North America. "Customers that embrace innovation and invest in the latest health and safety technology will be better able to attract and retain the best people as well as keep their jobsites productive."
The EXO-O1 is Hilti's first foray into exoskeletons for the construction industry. There will be more human augmentation developments to come from the brand. The exoskeleton development is initially focused on overhead and shoulder height and above applications because this type of motion is so physically intensive and fatiguing.
In recent years, Hilti has actively worked with start-ups and other external partners to couple its understanding of customer pain points with new technologies and innovative solutions, including robotics, from the outside to create solutions for commercial construction challenges.
"Our innovations have always been fueled by our deep understanding of our customers' challenges and needs, so it's only natural that we can drive innovation with solutions for human augmentation and jobsite automation," said Rafael Garcia, Senior VP and CMO of Hilti North America. "Human augmentation and jobsite automation innovations, alone or combined, will create productivity gains the likes of which haven't been seen since cordless tools got a foothold in commercial construction."